Find out more about the world-renowned names that make up the 2014 Decanter World Wine Awards judging line-up in this Q&A series.
Andreas Wickhoff MW is the managing director of Premium Estates of Austria, which he established in 2004. Prior to settling in Austria, Wickhoff worked as a sommelier and wine buyer in Corsica, France and the USA.
Read our interview with Andreas Wickhoff MW below…
☆ Which year or decade do you wish you’d been born in and why?
Actually, I am quite pleased to be one of Generation X. Born in the mid-70s, I’ve had peace and no massive economic struggle in my life yet, and looking at the globe today, the importance and relevance of peace has become a lot more crucial again. Besides, I would never have wanted to miss the great music and fashion of the 80s.
☆ How old were you when you had your first wine ‘moment’ and what was it?
I was probably 14, and It was when my parents let me try wine from their glasses. The dryness and present tannin certainly challenged my palate at the time.
☆ How many bottles do you have in your cellar and what is your most recent addition?
That question reminds me I need to do an inventory soon as I have not done it in a long while! I am guessing around 600 bottles at the moment, and my most recent additions were my second lot of 2011 red Burgundy: Sylvain Cathiard’s ‘En Orveaux’ and ‘Aux Malconsorts’ from Vosne-Romanée, and Fourrier and Dugat-Py’s Gevrey-Chambertins, all of which will not be touched for a long time.
☆ How many years have you been working in the wine industry and what was your first job?
In the wine industry per se, I’d say 15 years. I came from the F&B (food and beverage) trade. My first job entirely linked with wine was sommelier at the Grand Hôtel de Cala Rossa in Corsica. A great experience!
☆ Which vintage and region (or wine) do you wish you’d bought a whole case of wine from?
1990 Vosne Romanée ‘Cros Parantoux’ by Henri Jayer. That would make me smile!
☆ In the last 12 months, which grape have you drunk the most of?
Riesling and/or Pinot Noir – I can’t say exactly which one comes first.
☆ In the last 12 months, what’s the most exciting region you’ve discovered or re-discovered and why?
I was intrigued by a wine I had in Sofia last May, a Gamza made in northwest Bulgaria in a village called Borovitza. The wine was well-structured, authentic, persistent and really exciting overall.
☆ Who’s your wine idol (who has inspired you the most in the wine world)?
I believe that Jancis Robinson MW and all her works have certainly been a great inspiration. There are also so many wonderful producers you meet during the course of the years who give you lots of spirit – Madame Lalou Bize-Leroy and the late Robert Mondavi come to mind, but also many growers from Austria and Germany.
☆ What’s your most memorable wine and food moment?
The outstanding Thai food in Las Vegas’ Lotus of Siam restaurant with some aged JJ Prüm Graacher Himmelreich Kabinett; however, last year’s combination of 2006 Avize reserve wine at Champagne Bollinger with a perfectly mature Comte came very close. With both occasions and as always, it’s the overall atmosphere and the people you are with that make such a memorable experience.
☆ If you could taste/drink any wine in the world what would it be and who would you drink it with?
Domaine d’Auvenay, Meursault ‘Gouttes d’Or’ with the producer, Madame Lalou-Bize Leroy. She can choose the vintage!
☆ What’s the highest number of wines you’ve had on one of your wine lists?
I created my last wine lists more than 10 years ago, which is when I left the on-trade. Back then I was in Vail, Colorado, and I created around 400 listings.
☆ What is the oldest bottle of wine you’ve served?
1947 Cheval Blanc and 1947 Mouton Rothschild.
☆ What do you enjoy most about judging at the Decanter World Wine Awards?
Having such a great bunch of wine experts together and exchanging ideas with them about the wines. Two other wonderful things about the DWWA are that enough time is given to each wine tasted and the service is impeccable, both are absolutely crucial for successful wine judging!
For more information on this year’s competition, including how to enter, visit the Decanter World Wine Awards website
Written by Decanter
Andreas Wickhoff MW is a judge at the at the Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA)